The Norman Transcript

National Sports

September 24, 2013

Out of conference play proving tougher than usual for Big 12

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“You want to put your best foot forward when it comes to conference games, there’s no question,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Last week against Maryland, that meant something too. Unfortunately we didn’t play very good, I didn’t coach very good. ... Now that we’re in Big 12 play, each and every one of them count.”

Iowa State (0-2) plays Thursday night at Tulsa to wrap up its non-conference slate. On Saturday, No. 14 Oklahoma (3-0) travels to No. 22 Notre Dame and TCU (1-2) is home against SMU.

No. 19 Baylor (3-0), the nation’s highest-scoring team at 69.7 points a game, and No. 24 Texas Tech (4-0) have the weekend off. So do Texas, Kansas State and Kansas before it’s all Big 12 games through the first weekend in December.

“It’s really a lot more exciting now than in the preseason or out-of-conference games,” Brown said.

This is the second open date in three weeks for the Bears, whose next game is Oct. 5 at home in its Big 12 opener against West Virginia in a rematch of that wild game last year the Mountaineers won 70-63.

“We’d like to keep rolling along, but maybe on the flip side, we need a little down time and settle down and then get ready to get up and go into conference play,” Baylor coach Art Briles.

The Bears have the league’s longest winning streak at seven games. That includes their final three conference games last season, a bowl victory over UCLA and the three lopsided wins to start this year. They seem better prepared for conference play than a year ago, when they lost their first four Big 12 games.

“There’s some validity to that, without question,” Briles said. “I think our mindset is certainly different than it was a year ago going into Big 12 play.”

TCU is in a 15-day gap between games following its 20-10 loss to Texas Tech in the Big 12 opener for both teams. The Horned Frogs opened their season with a 37-27 loss to sixth-ranked LSU.

“Everybody’s talking about us being 1-2,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “I don’t think there’s a situation where everybody should be panicking.”

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